This article has been updated: Living in Australia vs New Zealand: 2013 Update
There has been a great deal of rhetoric spouting from the mouths of political figures in the past month and one of the of the interesting battle lines was the number of people who have immigrated to Australia from New Zealand. This became an emotive issue that was underpinned by poor reporting and subjective nonsense. The media conveniently forgot that our second largest city had been knocked to its knees and a large number of people left the country as a result. Equally convenient was the total lack of any research on who was leaving New Zealand and who was arriving.
So let’s look at some objective facts and some subjective aspects.
When it comes to crime, Australia has a higher rate than New Zealand. Five time more car thefts, 20% more homicides, three times as many murders committed by youth, and five times more offences with firearms. New Zealand per capita locks up 38% more than Australia, has 30% more rape victims, 83% more suicides, but still just falls short of Australia when you stack all the numbers.
As far as the economy and associated wages go, New Zealand was left behind around 1950 by Australia. There is simply no denying that Australia is more efficient, productive, spends more on research, has high wages, and is more technologically advanced. New Zealand scores higher in “economic freedom”, but nothing else in the index. You should note this doesn’t account for taxes.
When it comes to the environment Australia badly lacks compared to New Zealand. 106% higher C02 emissions per capita compared to New Zealand, ten times more pollution on average, five times more threatened species than New Zealand, more waste generation, less clean water, and more water pollution in general.
Education in New Zealand is far stronger than Australia. In New Zealand we spend more GDP on Education, stay at school longer, obtain higher qualifications, and are more literate. Perversely, teachers in Australia are paid 53% more than their New Zealand counterparts.
Australia consumes far more energy than New Zealand and this equates on some level to environmental impact, which we will look at next. A whopping 90.8% of Australia’s electricity is generated from fossil fuel, gas prices are 18% higher, consumes five times more oil, and on average each Australian uses 17% more energy than the average New Zealander. Six times more electricity is generated by hydro in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s health record compared to Australia is poor. More cancer across the board, more smokers, less hospital beds, more heart disease, a much higher infant mortality rate, more deaths by car, fewer doctors, a far higher suicide rate, and less spending (by an estimated $600) per person per annum for health.
Let’s talk tax. Corporate tax is 39% more than New Zealand, GST is lower, but you will pay more personal tax by far (Australia is the highest personal taxed nation in the OECD.) Across the board, tax is generally higher by a significant degree.
Living costs are harder to find good comparison data for, though on investigation the cost of living in Australia is significantly higher when you take the CPI, property, transport, and other living costs. Some data available puts the average at 30% – 40% more expensive than New Zealand on average.
Then there are the subjective measures. Australia is more racist, beyond a shadow of a doubt. New Zealand food is fresher and cheaper. You’re not going to get stung to death by anything in New Zealand. New Zealand is greener by a country mile. Australia has better weather by a long shot, but they get more extreme weather as a result. It will take you longer to get to work in Australia and you’ll pay more for less service. Service in Australia is awful in general compared to New Zealand (and that’s saying something.)
On balance, Australia has become the new, great, Overseas Experience location as an alternative to Mother England who is slowly closing her borders. The grass is definitely not greener unless you are into making cold, hard, cash and sending it home where it you can add (as of writing) a 30% bonus to every dollar. As a place to go, make cash, then return to New Zealand to buy your first house, it’s perfect.
Categories: New Zealand Politics